Psychology 101 - Mass delusion
(Essay question - 20 points)
With the enthusiastic support of Diet members, Shinkansen train lines are being extended to Kyūshū in an effort to improve access to economically disadvantaged areas. Income projections indicate that these lines will never earn enough to settle the loans taken out to build them. In order to pay for the rights-of-way and settle "nuisance" claims, the railway companies intend to transfer to the prefectural governments their landholdings ("Excellent economic development opportunities!") along existing JR rail lines. The prefectural governments, strapped for cash, decide to in turn transfer these landholdings to local communitie--this in lieu of transfering tax revenues. Local mayors and town councils, knowing they are given improperly assessed landholdings in lieu of the cash they need for their operating expences, refuse to accept the land. The prefectures and the railway companies sign an agreement to build the Shinkansen lines anyway. The new Shinkansen line will have no stops servicing the local communities being saddled with the twice-transferred trackside landholdings.
With the stars invisible, the late night television programs cover the last run of the overnight Blue Train service from Kyōto to Kyūshū and from Tokyo to Ōsaka. All is sepia-tinted floods of tears and plastic-wrapped bouquets. Silver-maned male commentators and their mahogany-tressed female counterparts recall how wonderful the Shōwa Era was. They wonder why the Japanese people are abandoning their cultural treasures and touchstones. Individualism and Koizumi reforms are mentioned as the likely culprits.
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